This mac’n’cheese is rich and creamy, and so simple to make in the Instant Pot! It is sure to become a family favorite!
Today I spent a couple of hours (so it seemed) folding laundry and attempting to pare down my kids’ wardrobes. The process took a while, but I redeemed the time by listening to a new podcast.
I took the opportunity to have my kids tell me exactly what clothes they wanted to hold on to, because in reality, there were about seven loads of clean laundry heaped up in my living room and any other clothes still in their rooms probably had not been worn in some time.
Earlier this week I shared a meme about decluttering on Facebook— “the easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid of most of it”. Generally, I agree with this statement. But it can be tricky when you live with five other people who have opinions about your getting rid of their things.
As we sorted clothes this morning, I tried to help my boys understand that having less clothes in their drawers meant less laundry to fold and fewer clothes to pick up off their floor. Ultimately, I left the decision about which t-shirts and pants to keep (I would have purged more), but I am hoping that in time they will begin to understand that less truly can be more.
You might be wondering what on earth my kids’ wardrobes have to do with mac’n’cheese (and maybe I am a little too), but it all has to do with trying to simplify life.
Fewer things. Less clutter. Easier meals.
My husband laughs at me because ever since my Instant Pot arrived on my doorstep, I am all about trying to figure out how to cook many (most?) of our meals in it. And since I recently gave up my dishwasher for my dream kitchen, one pot meals are suddenly much more appealing.
My hands are full in so many ways these days (mostly good ways, but sometimes in ways that aren’t worth repeating, like the incident we had today with a faulty diaper), and I can’t always afford a lot of time to prepare a meal for everyone.
So, of course, I love it when I can make a huge bowl of food that EVERYONE will love in just about thirty minutes. I also love that I can easily throw in a bunch of peas and a little chopped bacon– because it’s not a meal without protein and vegetables, right?
This recipe was adapted from a mac’n’cheese recipe in Cooks’ Illustrated’s pressure cooking cookbook. I wanted an easy version that used ingredients I was likely to have on hand— and evaporated milk did not fit the bill.
I also added bacon and peas for the aforementioned reasons.
Personally, I really love that you don’t have to fuss with draining the pasta after it cooks. Since you only use just enough water, the water not absorbed by the pasta becomes part of the sauce. The cream cheese adds to the creaminess of the sauce, and the cheddar cheese melts in perfectly to finish the dish.
Mac’n’Cheese with Bacon & Peas in the Instant Pot
- 3 bacon slices, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 1/2 C water
- 4 C dried pasta
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 C milk
- 4oz cream cheese
- 2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 C frozen peas, thawed
1. Heat the Instant Pot on the sauté function. Add the chopped bacon, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the bacon begins to crisp. Stir in the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 more seconds. Pour in 3 1/2 cups of water, and stir in the dried pasta. Cover the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
2. Quick release the pressure (it may sputter a little– if you are concerned about a mess, you can let some of the pressure naturally release for about 5-8 minutes before releasing. I just choose to clean up whatever sputters out).
3. Combine the flour and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour the milk mixture into the Instant Pot. Turn the IP back onto sauté, and simmer the pasta until the milk begins to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Cut the cream cheese into 1″ pieces and stir it into the pasta until it melts and is completely mixed in. Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.
4. Add the peas to the mac’n’cheese. Serve when warm. Salt to taste.
Want more Instant Pot recipes??? You can find them here.
Not sure what an Instant Pot even is??? Watch this video and find out why you will love it.